Firstly an interesting letter has appeared concerning Officer A, or Peter Daley as he was known to his friends in Militant/YRE.
Secondly a major moral issue emerges here when you have a man infiltrating an organisation and entering into sexual relationships with young women, who presumably would not have touched him with a barge pole had they known what his job really was.
Thirdly in terms of a strict cost benefit analysis, the police operation appears to have been a nonsense. Placing someone full time in an organisation for three years appears to have led to little or no arrests never mind major convictions. The revelation that this agents ‘intelligence’ alerted the police to the scale of the Welling demonstration is far from convincing - the world and his dog knew many activists had only one intention that day - to shut down the BNP bookshop - for good. In Class War we reproduced the Anti-Nazi League flyer for the march, changing the words "Close Down The BNP" to "Burn Down The BNP" - plenty of similar literature existed at the time.
What the issue really is about then is Youth Against Racism In Europe’s politics, and those of the various civil rights type groups Officer A also looked into. Here little or no criminal offences are being committed. Instead these groups wish to expose police malpractice, racism or incompetence. Such inflitration looks far more like the police covering their arses than doing anything positive to protect the public. As the old cliche goes, they should be out arresting real criminals.
Finally it is worth noting that the left itself brings some of these problems upon itself - through its guillibility and niavete. Following the Welling riot World in Action attempted a particularly scurrilous expose of the revolutionary left, which included footage from inside an Anti Fascist Action meeting, where individuals appeared to be discussing committing criminal acts. How did they get this footage? Nick Lowles, now editor of Searchlight, filmed it secretly and gave it to them. Red Action give a summary of the conduct of Searchlight in the anti-fascist movement here.
If much of the left cannot even face facts about Searchlight, what hope is there of spotting the likes of Officer A?